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General Discussion

Josh Gallacher
Josh Gallacher
Courses Plus Student 3,325 Points

Does anyone else struggle with knowing how to study coding effectively?

I'm from a creative background and more intuitive than I am academic so I find using and taking effective notes very difficult and even worse, knowing how to organise them and use them. Does anyone else struggle with this? I can use the code fine but I often feel like I'm not good enough if I can't recall information immediately, a bit like a handyman who can't name the tools he uses. Should I worry about this?

3 Answers

Ryan Gostic
Ryan Gostic
20,790 Points

It depends on where you are at learning wise. Learning javascript and sass will be a lot harder if you have not used a real programming language before. I would recommend writing functions that solve problems like printing the first n fibonacci numbers.

Jennifer Nordell
Jennifer Nordell
Treehouse Teacher

Josh Gallacher you are unique, but not in this regard. The problem with taking notes and organizing them is that you have a tendency to want to go back and memorize them. But let me tell you, that memorization in this particular branch is not only wasteful, it can even be detrimental. The thing you spend hours memorizing today, could very well change tomorrow without much notification to you at all.

You bring up the analogy of a handyman who doesnΒ΄t know the names of the tools he uses. This is actually really appropriate. The instructors don't talk about looking at the documentation because it's fun`. They talk about it because it's a necessity. It would be impossible to memorize everything about even one language. If that were a requirement, there would be no programmers.

I might suggest you take a look at this Treehouse show which specifically talks about learning/studying programming. At the bottom, you will find a link to a blog post I wrote for Treehouse some time ago.

I hope any or all of this helps! :sparkles:

Josh Gallacher
Josh Gallacher
Courses Plus Student 3,325 Points

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll definitely be looking into those!

Hey Josh,

I thought some input might be helpful. I have a background in Biological Sciences and a lot of the time it requires reading around topics and keeping up to date with research.

I started learning to code almost 2 years ago (but not full time due to my science studies at university). However, I found the following to be very helpful for me and I hope it will help you too. Here are my 7 tips:

1) Motivate yourself (very important), if you really have a passion for coding you will keep going

2) Repeat yourself, go over codes try to understand and apply

3) Practice, practice, practice. You must practice the new materials you learn. When you actually apply something new in practice it for sure does help retain that information

4) Think of it like a big piece of cake. If you eat the big piece with mouth full it will be hard digesting. Likewise, cut down big chunks of work down into small bite size pieces

5) Always write what you learn onto a piece of paper (don't just type stuff up) definitely make use of pen and paper. It is an old fashioned technique, but very effective in helping remember stuff

6) Break down something complex into its simplest form, use very basic words to make sense of what is being said. Simplicity = easier to remember

7) Science has helped me a lot to read around topics (through articles, books, videos and blogs + other), and I applied the same technique to coding and it for sure helps 100%.

I hope these tips will help. Best of luck and happy coding ?

Josh Gallacher
Josh Gallacher
Courses Plus Student 3,325 Points

That is some solidly good advice, thank you very much. I'll take note and apply the things you've said. Coding is this strange beast that saddles halfway between a science and an art so it's hard figuring out how to approach it. I'm thinking I may try and treat what notes I take in a semi scrapbook arty fashion, see if that helps bridge that divide for me!